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Fall fishing is here

Fishermen line the public fishing dock at Cherry Grove Park in North Myrtle Beach. JASON LEE
Fishing report: Fall’s finest weather offers plenty options for offshore trolling

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

November 02, 2017 6:44 PM

Look For: Red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, spots.

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a solid trip on Thursday in the Winyah Bay vicinity, producing five spotted seatrout, a large flounder and two bull red drum measuring 43 and 44 inches. The huge reds were inadvertently caught on flounder rods, providing quite a battle. McDonald noted the cold front early in the week cooled the water temperature to 65 degrees in the bay on Thursday. Capt. Jason Burton of Murrells Inlet Fishing Center reports the trout bite in the inlet was superb early in the week. On Tuesday, Burton’s crew caught over 20 trout to go with redfish, black drum and flounder. Burton’s largest trout on the trip was a 5.8-pounder. Catches of spots have also been good in the inlet. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River has also found some nice trout, plus reds, flounder and black drum. “We’ve been getting an inshore slam just about every trip,” said Kelly. “Fishing’s been good.” Kelly is helping host the inaugural Inshore Slam and Festival this weekend out of Cricket Cove Marina. The Captains Meeting is set for 6 p.m. Friday at the marina. On Saturday, lines in is at 7:30 a.m. with scales opening at 1 p.m. Visit for more information.

Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.

Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters hit the Belky Bear vicinity early in the week and brought in a two-person limit of six king mackerel in an hour. Maples slow-trolled dead cigar minnows to catch the kings. The near-shore hard-bottom areas and reefs are holding plenty of weakfish and black sea bass. Capt. Mike McDonald reports the Georgetown reef located a mile north of the Winyah Bay sea buoy was loaded with big weakfish, also known as summer trout, this week. Scott Skrzydlinski of the Cherry Grove Pier reports a good four-hour run of spots on the pier on Monday, but action for the panfish has been, well, spotty since. Skrzydlinski notes numerous species have been caught this week including Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, red drum and black drum. Skrzydlinski reported a water temperature of 71 degrees on the surface and 70 on the bottom Thursday at 5 p.m.

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass, amberjack.

Comments: It’s been the finest weather week of the fall, with superb sea conditions, and the offshore trolling has been on fire. For instance, Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing in Murrells Inlet was part of a crew on a private boat Tuesday that had a fantastic day fishing the Winyah Scarp. In 79-degree water the crew caught four large wahoo weighing 45, 55, 58 and 70 pounds, plus a large blackfin tuna, a nice dolphin and a nice king. “It was beautiful out there,” said Sconyers. Bottom fishing gets a nice treat this week, a few days after Halloween, with the first weekend of the mini-season for red snapper. The season is open this weekend (Nov. 3-5) and again next weekend (Nov. 10-12) for recreational anglers. The limit is one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit. Anglers on bottom fishing trips can also look for vermilion snapper, grouper, black sea bass, red porgy, triggerfish, amberjack and grunts. Scamp have been the most common grouper landed. Anglers are reminded cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: The good weather and good times continue on local rivers. Bream can be found in 2-4 feet of water hitting crickets or worms, but as it cools down further will be moving to deeper water, when anglers will switch to lead-lining worms on the bottom to catch them. The Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers have been producing nice slab crappie, hitting minnows around structure in depths up to 10 feet. Bass action has been strong on jerkbaits and Texas-rigged worms. Bream, shiners and eels are prime baits for catfish, along with fresh cut mullet. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 8.13 feet Thursday at 3:15 p.m. and making good tides. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 4.92 feet at 3 p.m. Thursday.

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